Sabbath: Rewards of Faithfulness
Read for This Week’s Study: Hebrews 11:6, Isaiah 62:11, Romans 6:23, John 14:1-3, Revelation 21:1-27, Matthew 25:20-23, Romans 8:16-18.
Memory Text: “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’ ” (Matthew 25:21, NKJV).
Though we can never earn salvation, the Bible uses the hope of reward as a motivation for faithful living as undeserving recipients of God’s grace, for in the end whatever we receive is, always and only, from God’s grace.
As David wrote: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11, NKJV).
In various places the Bible talks about our rewards, what we are promised through Christ after the Second Coming and this terrible detour with sin is once and for all over and done.
What are we promised, and what assurance do we have of getting what we have been promised?
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, March 25.
I have a PhD, and Carmel tells me it was a lot of hard work - for both of us. It took years of my life and required thousands of hours of reading, experimentation, writing, editing, arguing, and presenting. In the end, at a graduation ceremony, I was handed a piece of paper with some fancy wording on it, and I was called Doctor Ashton for the first time. Was that the reward?
The next day I was back in class and my students called me by my first name as they always did. A year or so later, I was interviewed by a researcher about what I thought the rewards were of obtaining a PhD. I told him that I thought I could write a bit better than I used to. He laughed as he told me that was one of the most common responses he had received to his question.
The true reward of a doctorate is not the testamur, or the title, or the adulation of others. It is, to be quite honest, that you can do some things better than you used to.
The rewards of Christian faithfulness are not just the heavenly real estate. It is a lot more about a growing relationship with God and one another now and extending forever. We sometimes overlook the last bit of John 14:1-3 in our excitement about mansions (actually better translated as dwelling places).
The reward of a faithful Christian is a relationship.
In considering how to describe the 'reward' that motivates me personally, one phrase in the lesson particularly resonated with me: "...this terrible detour with sin is once and for all over and done." That is the 'reward' I am seeking - that God's way of 'beneficent life and living' is once again fully restored throughout all of creation so that there is no more pain, hurt and sorrow for anyone. Instead there is only perfect harmony, support and beneficial freedom for all - just as God originally desired and intended for those He created.
Thanks, Phil. And that means relationships of perfect love and trust - not only with God but with all beings in God's created universe. No more misunderstandings! We will strive for the happiness of others while they strive for our happiness.
What a destiny!
It may be that there will be misunderstandings as we grow up in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus. (2 Peter 3:18.) If there were no misunderstandings, that would imply that all that could be known was known, and that cannot be because we are not and never can be God, who is perfect in all knowledge and its application.
In heaven and on the new earth, all will have the mind of Christ (which is the mind—attitude—of God). Misunderstandings, difficulties encountered, differences of opinions, etc. will be resolved between one another in love for others, because truth will be spoken in love. That is the essential difference with what largely occurs in the present age.
However, those who have and who are striving for the mind of Christ in the here and now, have the privilege of practicing godliness. Heaven on earth can be practiced by those of like mind to the honour and glory of God in spite of misunderstandings and regardless of circumstances.
Just some thoughts.
Richard, you mean there may be misunderstandings, etc, in heaven?
God is not a micromanager. He gave us brains, feelings and principles based on love to guide our words, actions and thoughts. We were designed to develop physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually through the work God provides to us. God designed us to figure out how to accomplish the work he gives us. (I have always found character building the very challenging work of a lifetime.) He gave Adam and Eve the job of managing this world, and the saints on the new earth will have the same job. So Yes, I fully expect misunderstandings, challenges, differences of opinions, etc. on how to accomplish his will. But these will be resolved in accord with his principles and his Spirit—not as they are now in this world. I expect there will be lots of experimental religion on the new earth to provoke new learning and insights.
The second time around, through God’s grace, the family of man will be built in God’s image. We will know there are no shortcuts in the building of this temple of living stones (that is, his saints). We will know that because God’s Son delivered us from that evil, which was the Devil’s deceptive lie. The tools we develop in this world (that is, the gifts of his Spirit) will be exercised to the full in the new earth to accomplish the work God will give us. The skills we learn and develop here under the Devil’s duress as we work to accomplish God’s will, we will use with unbridled joy on the new earth for the same purpose.
If we can't work through issues on this earth now, how do we expect to do this in heaven and on the new earth?
That is my understanding.
My desire for a reward is already satisfied- Jesus died for my sins.
I am looking forward to the reward for overcoming, Revelation 21 verse 7. Yes that reward is attained now by being born again now, putting us into a now reality. But to have hope of enjoying our reward in the future to come, where there will be no sin, no pain, no sorrow, and all tears will be wiped away, is special, worth managing till He comes.
Revelation 21:7. The reward.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18. The now reality.
Romans 8:24-25. Hope is things not seen, worth waiting for.
Revelation 21:4. In a land where there will be no more sin.
Oh, how quickly time flies, it was just a few weeks ago we began the study of the first quarter of this new year 2023: Managing for the master till he comes! We now have the assurance that we should be faithful stewards of our Master's goods by providing for those who are not as fortunate as we are.
When we trust in and apply His words, He will help us to fulfill His plan. At the end (as long as we remain faithful) He will give us the reward of sharing heaven with Him.
Thanks, I am blest, through your sharing, in inspirational wisdom thoughts through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thank God for His love. The most remarkable reward at the end of these life fightings will be to look at the Master into His own eyes! I don't think heaven would have anything marvellous without the presence of the only One Who redeemed humanity to eternity again. The very presence of Jesus Christ will be enough for anyone who decides to be in heaven, and I agree, this will also be Grace!
"The rewards of Christian faithfulness are not just the heavenly real estate. It is a lot more about a growing relationship with God and one another now and extending forever. [...] The reward of a faithful Christian is a relationship."
Thank you for your post: it is an interesting take on the Christian teachings. I believe that, as taught, Christianity is too much of a mercantile deal, a quid pro quo, a reflection of capitalism--not that capitalism, per se, is bad--instead of being the father-child relationship it should be (Mat. 6; 1 John 3:1)